James Bernard McGinnell was born in Colchester, Essex in 1892. His father James was a career soldier and his mother Margaret raised the family. James was the eldest. He had 2 sisters, Bridget and Margaret and a much younger brother Joseph Leo, who also became a priest.
He was educated at St Bede's College leaving in 1911 to go Ushaw, and was ordained 28 January 1917. Immediately after ordination, he volunteered for military service and saw heavy action in France as WW1 drew into its final months. After being demobbed in 1919 he initially spent a few months as curate to Greenacres, however the strain of his war experiences were too great, and he came off the Mission and instead went to teach at St Bede's College for 5 years.
In 1924, Fr McGinnell returned to parochial work as curate at Eccles, then taking on responsibility for the chaplaincy at Hope Hospital until 1938. He assisted Fr O'Shaughnessy at St Luke's by saying one of the Sunday masses. He was present at the opening of the school and is in the photo to the right of Bishop Henshaw
He became a Canon and in 1938 he was appointed to Rawtenstall to take charge of the parish of St James the Less, where he would serve for 31 years, clearing the debt, and re-roofing the church, he celebrated both his silver and golden jubilees there and was appointed a Canon in 1967. In 1969 the Canon retired to McAuley Mount where he died 16 April 1977 at the age of 85.